LONDON — A junior minister in Boris Johnson’s government resigned on Tuesday over top aide Dominic Cummings’ alleged breach of the U.K.’s lockdown guidelines, saying he could not “in good faith” tell his constituents that the advisers’ actions were justifiable.
Douglas Ross, under secretary of state for Scotland, wrote to Johnson saying that the public reaction to reports of Cummings’ 260-mile drive from London to Durham in late March demonstrated that the adviser’s “interpretation of the government guidance was not shared by the vast majority of people who have done what the government asked.”
His is the first resignation in connection with the issue and will increase pressure on Johnson, who has faced calls to sack Cummings from opposition parties and from at least 20 Conservative MPs.
Ross added: “I have constituents who didn’t get to say goodbye to loved ones; families who could not mourn together; people who did not visit sick relatives because they followed the guidance of the government. I cannot in good faith tell them they were all wrong and one senior adviser to the government was right.”
Johnson has stood by Cummings since the first reports of his actions on Friday evening. On Monday, Cummings said he did not regret his actions and Johnson reiterated that he believed his adviser had acted legally and in the best interests of his family.
A No. 10 spokesman said: “The prime minister would like to thank Douglas Ross for his service to government and regrets his decision to stand down as parliamentary under secretary of state for Scotland.”